Size Matters in DC Library Fight

Protestors plead to keep Mt. Pleasant branch open

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Elizabeth Thomsen, Flickr

    There can indeed be too much of a good thing, according to those fighting to preserve a historic library in Northwest Washington.

    A protest rally was held at the site of the Mt. Pleasant library Saturday. The branch is closing for renovations on Saturday, April 3 at 5:30 p.m. It won’t reopen for at least one year.

    The library opened in 1925. It is the third oldest library building still in use in the District.

    The Mt. Pleasant branch is doing so well that D.C. Library leaders did what’s rare these days -- they decided to expand the facility. They will also be adding modern touches and making the building energy-efficient while they’re at it.

    Just the idea of a 20,000 sq. ft. library wedged in with old buildings has some historic preservationists in the neighborhood fired up.

    "Inappropriate" is what the president of Historic Mt. Pleasant calls the plans for a large expansion to the library.

    "The addition would have what would look like highway walls along side the building, not at all consistent with the beauty of the original building," said Faye Armstrong.

    Armstrong says the size and modern look would “deform” the current Italian Renaissance style.

    Others have raised concerns that the new library would not have adequate wheelchair accessible accommodations.

    The renovations on the Mt. Pleasant Library could take from one to two years to complete. 

    A temporary library is being made available nearby. It’s located at 3164 Mt. Pleasant St. NW. 

    However, the interim Mt. Pleasant library won’t open its doors until April 26, forcing neighborhood patrons to have to travel to other branches to get their books for about three weeks.